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Why Hyperlocal Campaigns And OOH Are More Important Than Ever For Brands

Date: August 21, 2018

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I’ve said it hundreds of times, and I’ll say it again. In order to be effective in attracting and retaining customers today, brands need to take an omnichannel approach.

With media saturation at an all-time high, CMOs and marketers need to constantly challenge their assumptions. This means seeking out new data to understand the customer journey. The reality is the effectiveness of digital, social, and mobile ads is on the decline. More than 30% of people are using ad blocking on their smartphones. Not to mention there are also fraud and other challenges.

Ultimately, CMOs and marketers want to deliver a perfect mix of content, messages, and experiences based on where and what the consumer is doing at a particular moment. And, matching up the content your brand serves to customers to deliver a relevant experience is as much about where as it is about when.

In line with this, brands across categories are shifting their marketing dollars to invest in out-of-home (OOH) and digital OOH (DOOH) advertising. Then, they couple that with hyperlocal mobile campaigns to cut through the noise.

To delve deeper into this trend, I spoke with Ben Billups, CEO of Billups, the largest independent OOH agency in the country, which works with top brands across categories. I also spoke with Grant Leech, vice president of brand marketing at U.S.Cellular and Joe Whitney, chief commercial officer with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., who explained why and how they used OOH in their latest campaign.

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A More Dynamic Customer Journey

In the past, there was a lot of guesswork by marketers. They used broad segmentation and backward-facing data to target when to execute content and media at a given time. Today, marketers have more rich data at their fingertips than ever before. This helps them to not only understand when and what channel to serve their content on, but also where and how.

“By tapping into location data, AI and machine learning, marketers can now spot patterns to better understand the consumer’s mindset, and where, when, and how to reach them most effectively,” shares Billups. “We’re also seeing the overall definition of digital shift. Today there’s not only a smartphone in every hand but screens all around us. We’re living in an omni-screen world.”

The Rise of Hyperlocal

While digital and social display ads and content continue to be an important part of any brands’ marketing plan, digitally native brands are increasingly investing in OOH and digital OOH. According to a new report, nearly a quarter of the top 100 OOH advertisers are major tech brands such as Google or Apple.

The reason is OOH is one of the best ways for brands to take advantage of a mobile market. With a smartphone in every person’s hand and screens all around us, brands need to tell their stories in right places with more impact.

“The most successful brands today are platform agnostic and focused on delivering localized and contextual content based on where, when and how customers are engaging,” notes Billups. “OOH provides the highest rate of online activation per dollar of any offline media. Brands are building on this strength using cross-channel campaigns that span OOH placements and mobile ads, often tied to specific locations.“

OOH Case Studies

A great example is Sierra Nevada. The popular beer brand wanted to reach consumers where they were in the moment more effectively. As a result of an integrated campaign that included OOH and digital OOH advertising, Sierra Nevada has seen an increase in brand sales and engagement.

Sierra Nevada billboardSIERRA NEVADA

“OOH is one of the last forms of traditional advertising that still offers massive reach,” said Joe Whitney, chief commercial officer with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “While it’s an old form of advertising it’s ironically modern. Your message needs to be distilled to its simplest form. We do a mix of traditional OOH as well as digital OOH across the country and are seeing great results.”

Another example is the latest U.S. Cellular out-of-home campaign. Billboards in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, two of the company's key markets, billowed smoke for one week from August 5-12. It was the first execution of smoking billboards for the wireless carrier. ·In explaining why they decided to use this creative approach, Leech explained, "Our creative approach was to execute non-standard, custom-designed creative in the format of a smoking billboard.

The idea was to generate buzz and attention through eye-catching special effects to drive awareness of U.S. Cellular’s 'Don’t Get Burned' and no hidden fees message." 

Create Better Campaigns Through Machine Learning

Fueling the success of better local campaigns are AI and machine learning. They offer brands a variety of ways to tailor campaigns. Plus, brands can deliver content and experiences based on consumer intent in the moment. This same trend is empowering brands to deliver smarter OOH campaigns.

One of the keys to Sierra Nevada’s success with OOH was leveraging Boohma, a new technology platform developed by Billups.The platform empowers agencies and brands to build smarter OOH campaigns with stronger measurement and attribution. Additionally, it offers location-based audience intelligence.

“In this day and age, there simply aren’t a lot of advertising vehicles that have the sheer reach of OOH,” shares Whitney. “Delivering the right message, at the right time, directed at the right customer can have a big impact. Also, it’s a great call to action with consumers.”

“To date, there’s been limited data available on a hyperlocal basis to effectively target OOH and DOOH campaigns. This makes it harder than it should be for media planners to effectively reach their target audience,” shares Billups. “We’re empowering agencies and brands to identify the best moments and locations to reach their target audience in the physical world.”

The Digital OOH Boom

In recent years, we’ve also seen massive investments by CMOs and brands in digital OOH. The medium is expected to reach the majority of Americans in 2018.

With an ever-increasing number of screens, there are more options to deliver stories and content in the moment. Also, they can adjust the message dynamically based on hyperlocal data and insights.

“The dynamic nature of DOOH lets advertisers change creative based on a variety of triggers. These include weather, search queries, and even the presence of mobile devices,” said Billups. “We are also seeing an increase in live streaming content in social media feeds. This allows brands to build a dialogue in real time, leading to brand loyalty and customer retention.”

Why This All Matters

Brands map the customer journey beyond the segment level to the micro-segment and geo-targeted level. This means a continued shift in marketing dollars to do more with hyperlocal content. Increasingly, that includes a more comprehensive mix OOH, digital OOH, and targeted mobile campaigns.

 

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